Rankings

WHAT VALUE DO SAINTS RB’S HAVE?

Monday, 23 June, 2014

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Perhaps no team in football has been as tortuous as the New Orleans Saints to figure out their stable of running backs. Pierre Thomas has had the highest prime value for the Saints. He went from a high carry back to an inordinate amount of carries. Last year his fantasy worthiness almost came exclusively out of the backfield.

The Saints have used a platoon of running backs intermittently that drives fantasy owners nuts. With Darren Sproles departed to the Eagles, it leaves the same backfield of players. Is the Saints backfield being overlooked from a fantasy standpoint because of this? Likely so.

It seems odd to think about, but Darren Sproles has been a main key to Brees career. Out in San Diego, Sproles played the lightning bolt to LT. When he became a free agent the Saints went after Sproles to replace Reggie Bush’s role. He filled it admirably.

Now who will Brees have to be his Reggie Bush or Darren Sproles?

Both guys were fantasy havens for PPR leagues and combined yards of rushing and receiving. It was a toss up between Sproles and Pierre Thomas for more effective fantasy running back. Neither lit the fantasy scoreboard on a weekly basis, but did just enough to be fantasy running back three or four.

Who is going to catch the out of the backfield receptions for the Saints? Sproles had over 70 catches for the Saints each of the last three seasons.

Based on the Saints current roster, you’d have to believe the Saints are planning on reducing Pierre Thomas’s carries some more. They dwindled quite a bit last year as he boosted his performance out of the backfield. Last year he caught 77 passes for over 500 yards. Before that career season he had over 40 catches just once in his eight year career. His yards per carry dipped to a career low of just 3.7 yards last season. This should be clear evidence that the Saints want to use Thomas as their Sproles/Bush 100 percent.

That leaves the big void of whom will be the Saints main tail back for rushing the football. Mark Ingram has been nothing short of a disappointment in his stint as a Saint. The former Heisman Trophy winner has struggled with injuries and consistency. One bright sign from Ingram was his finish to the 2013 season. He had two games in which he came close to 100 yards, including in a playoff victory over the Eagles. In the divisional round he did have a costly fumble against the Seahawks though.

The Saints other two running backs are Khiry Robinson and Travaris Cadet. Robinson had spots a year ago where he looked like he would overtake the main running back duties. It just never materialized and left fantasy owners regretful on taking a flyer on him.

Maybe that was a move warranted for this upcoming season. Robinson will likely have a fair amount of carries with Ingram. For now it’d be hard to rank one higher than the other. You’d expect the Saints to give Ingram every chance to gain the upper hand on the time split, but Ingram’s proven to drop the ball when given opportunities.

I’d still downgrade Ingram and have an asterisk on Cadet stealing some thunder from both. New Orleans has too many receptions and carries available to have fantasy eyes drifting. If you’re anti-Ingram take your shot in later rounds on Cadet or Robinson.

Top Backup QB’s Likely to Hit Field in 2014

Sunday, 22 June, 2014

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Pencil Vick as a starter now. He’ll be the opening day quarterback for the Jets.

It’s inevitable that the majority of NFL teams will need to utilize their backup quarterbacks at some point. Causes can range from injuries, blowouts, or even poor play. Stretches of backup quarterbacks on the field equate to an opportunity from a fantasy standpoint. Seventy percent of these situations usually are void of a fantasy juggernaut. Then there’s the quarterbacks capable of stepping right in and keeping the offense rolling.

Josh McCown did such a fine job that many wanted him to remain the Bears starter. Matt Flynn did not wow anyone with his on field demeanor but had a few games that he performed decent.

Everyone in the fantasy football world has their insurance 100 percent covered at running back and wide receiver. These dual starter positions usually get five to six players drafted on each fantasy team. Quarterbacks tend to be the forgotten insured position. People will draft their sure-fire starter and not give much consideration to the backup. After all they think they’ll be starting their starter all thirteen fantasy football weeks. Be prepared for any possibilities this season. Here are some current backup quarterbacks that likely will get their chance on the football field. They may even end up being a catalyst to help you win on your fantasy football team.

Johnny Manziel
I just wrote a piece on Manziel being a top twelve fantasy quarterback in the month of November. One thing you can count on from fantasy football owners is impatience. Some owners work the trade and waiver wire market too much. Chances are Manziel won’t be stashed away in the majority of fantasy football leagues. By late October I expect him to start. He’ll work his wonders for the month of November.

Michael Vick
Vick is being his own perfect public relations facilitator right now. Everything he states to the media has been politically correct. He stands behind and believes in Geno Smith. We all know that Vick is in New York to try and write a last chapter to his career. Being a permanent backup was the last thing on his mind. The book we saw on Geno Smith last year just has the makings for more early season disasters. New York may start Smith just to procure Vick’s health. He hasn’t been durable the last four years. Maybe bringing him in as starter in late September or October protects him for the rest of the season. Bottom line is that Vick will be on the field, maybe as early as week one.

Brandon Weeden
No one truly knows Kyle Orton’s plans. By bringing in Weeden, Dallas is showing their support to lean on Weeden as the backup. Cowboys fans know all too well Tony Romo’s injury history. Dallas’s organization has been quiet in regards to Romo’s health. Unless Dallas reshapes their offensive playbook, it’ll be a matter of time before Weeden steps onto the field. Their pass happy offense leaves quarterbacks vulnerable to big hits.

Thad Lewis
EJ Manuel missed time on the field on two different occasions last season. For the most part Manuel was a pocket passer. If he doesn’t learn to make quicker decisions with the football, he’ll have more setbacks in 2014. Buffalo kept themselves prepared with Lewis. Lewis shined in a couple of spot starts last year. Buffalo has a solid group of young receivers that was bolstered with the signing of Mike Williams and drafting of Sammy Watkins.

Shaun Hill
Hill seems like he has been in the NFL forever. Throughout his career he has been perceived as a solid backup. While in Detroit he filled in well when Matt Stafford went down. In St. Louis, fans and the media believe this is their year to make a move in the NFC. Sam Bradford is likely on his last leg if he can’t fulfill the first pick he was garnered. If the team struggles, Hill will become the starter, with assets galore offensively around him.

Charlie Whitehurst
Tennessee is making it clear to Locker he needs to become a more consistent quarterback. Some of the blame could go on the shoulders of an unsustainable running game with Chris Johnson. He is gone and the Titans did a fine job filling that position by signing Dexter McCluster and drafting Bishop Sankey. Locker is a veteran now and needs to start playing like one. Tennessee did the right thing by signing Whitehurst and drafting Zach Mettenburger.

Matt Moore
Miami burned an above average season with putrid losses. Most of their close losses were caused by single or multiple game killing plays by Ryan Tannehill. When they were winning though, he played a big part in their success. That’s expected for a second year quarterback. In his third season Tannehill must nix those mistakes. He has to show better control for an entire football game. If the play isn’t there, he must throw the football away. Miami’s team is very similar to last year. It’s one of the few teams in football that kept their roster at quarterback the same. Moore has been a fill in starter before in Carolina and in Miami during Chad Henne’s final season.

Kirk Cousins
RG3 supporters are all expecting him to answer to last years debacle with a bang in 2014. In college he responded by winning the Heisman two years after blowing out his knee. It’s going to take a complete 360 from RG3 to get back to his level of 2012. It may be in him, but there is no discounting his second major knee injury. Until he shows that same burst and speed, I won’t be a full believer. Washington sat him the last two games of last year as precaution, but who knows if he further damaged his knee the first fourteen games of the season. As has been the case the past two years, Kirk Cousins will be ready if need be.

CAN JOHNNY FOOTBALL BE A TOP 12 FANTASY QUARTERBACK?

Saturday, 21 June, 2014

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Thus far in Johnny Manziel’s career he has been a spectacle on and off the field. His journey to a media sensation has been stirred to new heights on the professional level. High profiled athletes are always out and about in nightlife Vegas scenes and other major areas.

In fact a week before Manziel was glorified for being in Las Vegas, St. Louis Rams, Michael Sam was there. Both have been getting major attention from the media, but Sam has the spotlight in a different way. I’m 100 percent sure that Manziel and Sam were not the only two NFL rookies that have ventured to Vegas in the past two months.

What it comes down to for Manziel is living up to his draft pick. By falling to the 20′s he is in the range of several quarterbacks over the last five years. Former Cleveland Brown quarterback, Brandon Weeden, was selected 22nd a few seasons ago. Tim Tebow was the 25th pick, Joe Flacco 18th, and Brady Quinn 22nd.

Only one of those four quarterbacks has had success. Quinn has bounced around as a third string backup. Tebow’s story is well documented, and Brandon Weeden was a failure in two seasons in Cleveland.

The high impact fans and the media are labeling Manziel needs to be toned down. Cleveland’s front office is doing their best to calm the media down. By stating that Manziel won’t be handed the job and has a lot of work ahead of him. It’s the way any organization needs to handle a drafted player, but Cleveland is putting it out there for the media’s eyes.

Without a doubt the media pressure will continue to build and inevitably Johnny Manziel will be on the football field in 2014. How will this help your fantasy football teams? Assuming Manziel doesn’t start right away, he’ll likely be thrown into the fray in mid to late October. This is usually when a poor team looks for one last chance. At four or five losses they’d only be a few games away from playoff elimination.

Rookie quarterbacks have shown strong promise before in fantasy football impact. Even Brandon Weeden had his share of 300 yard games. The list extends from RG3, Luck, Locker, Kaepernick, Vince Young, and even Tim Tebow. New quarterbacks on the field tend to cause disruption for defensive schemes and coordinators.

Scouting preseason film and college film is completely different from an NFL game plan. It typically takes defenses a handful of games to adjust to the new starting quarterback.

Therefore, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Manziel catapult himself as a top twelve fantasy quarterback in November. This could be crucial for fantasy teams looking for a new spark at their quarterback position. Manziel has had his critics for his skill to throw the football. His craftiness should allot for him to create on the run and spread the football around. I see no reason to discount his skill set from college to the NFL.

It didn’t stop Colin Kaepernick, Vince Young, Mike Vick, RG3, Tebow, and other scrambling quarterbacks initially.

Place Manziel on your draft lists. He’ll reward you like he did in college against the spread.

TOP 20 FANTASY FOOTBALL TIGHT ENDS

Thursday, 19 June, 2014

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Graham is the only fantasy position ranking that won’t move in 2014.

It truly was not that long ago where tight ends use to be an after thought on fantasy football draft day. You had the Shannon Sharpe’s and Ben Coates of the world and then everybody else. Heck, there was even a time when certain fullbacks could be drafted for fantasy value (Larry Centers/Mike Alstott). It seems as the use of a fullback faded teams started to realize the value of a new breed tight end.

Slowly other NFL teams began to seek out a capable versatile pass catching tight end. Now we are at where we are today. A true top to bottom league with high end tight ends. This translates into a much more interesting position filler. Here is a look at June’s top twenty tight ends.

1. Jimmy Graham- His contract squabbles with the Saints is all financial. Once September comes along the Saints will be using the former U basketball player as a continued aerial assault killer. Graham’s basketball skills have truly helped transform his skills on the football field. Last year was amazing to see the repetition of throws Brees would throw his way. Yet he still would haul in a whopping percentage of them.

2. Julius Thomas- Last season was a make or break year for Thomas. Denver had kept him on through his struggles and believed in him. Finally last year he was able to breakout. At the same time he rose to fantasy football stardom. Continued growth from Thomas will keep the Broncos right where they’ve been. Deep into the post season.

3. Jordan Cameron- Even though Cameron’s quarterback is in question, I’ll still keep him as a top three tight end. He showed enough through the gauntlet of quarterbacks last season. This year he’ll have one of two options. Brian Hoyer, who he fared extremely well with last year, or rookie Johnny Manziel. Consider Cameron’s chances of a one year wonder non-existent.

4. Vernon Davis
5. Rob Gronkowski
6. Jason Witten
7. Charles Clay
8. Jermichael Finley
9. Martellius Bennett
10. Jordan Reed
11. Dennis Pitta
12. Eric Ebron
13. Antonio Gates
14. Zach Ertz
15. Coby Fleener
16. Garrett Graham
17. Tyler Eifert
18. DeLanie Walker
19. Dwayne Allen
20. LaDarius Green

JUNE WIDE RECEIVER RANKINGS

Wednesday, 18 June, 2014

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1. Calvin Johnson- Johnson still qualifies as the best receiver. Just do not expect the all world numbers of a year ago.
2. Dez Bryant- There was a large stretch of last season that it looked like Bryant would hold the top receiver ranking in the NFL. This from a receiver that people were dogging just a few seasons ago. He has turned it around and will eventually supplant Johnson.
3. Brandon Marshall- Since Marshall has worked on his image and his conduct, he has been off the charts. Him and his wife need to thank the Bears organization for dragging him out of Miami.
4. AJ Green- I have some concerns over the Bengals offense this upcoming season. They haven’t limited Green thus far in his career, but a regression from Dalton surely would. Jason Campbell is not an electric quarterback from a fantasy standpoint.
5. Julio Jones- All eyes are expectant of Jones and the Falcons offense to regain its form.
6. Alshon Jeffrey- Jeffrey did wonders on two of my fantasy football teams last year. He’ll get repaid by owners like myself, and attraction from everyone else that saw his dynamic games. The only reason he isn’t higher is because Marshall is obviously Cutler’s top target still.
7. Keenan Allen- Allen resurrected franchises that picked him up off the waiver wire. Each week we kept waiting for his one month wonder, than two month wonder to end. It never did. Philip Rivers has shown in his career that when he finds a top target, he is going to keep hitting them. Those figuring Allen will slip this year should think again.
8. DeMaryius Thomas- I fully believe that this season is going to be a slightly different approach from the Broncos offense. Manning will not have the type of seasons we have seen the past two years. Instead expect them to run the football more to prepare properly for teams in the playoffs like the Seahawks.
9. Antonio Brown- Pittsburgh has been too strong of an organization to slip another season. Brown has seen Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders depart the past few seasons. It’s his role to flourish in and he will for fantasy football fans.
10. Larry Fitzgerald- Fitz is going to be one of those career long great wide receivers that keeps his name and respect amongst the NFL and fantasy football participants.
11. Randall Cobb
12. Vincent Jackson
13. Pierre Garcon
14. Andre Johnson
15. Torrey Smith
16. Jordy Nelson
17. Michael Crabtree
18. Victor Cruz
19. TY Hilton
20. Roddy White
21. Julian Edelman
22. Wes Welker
23. Cordarelle Patterson
24. Jeremy Maclin
25. Mike Wallace
26. Marques Colston
27. Kendall Wright
28. Cecil Shorts
29. Riley Cooper
30. Michael Floyd
31. Eric Decker
32. Mike Evans
33. Danny Amendola
34. Emmanuel Sanders
35. Percy Harvin
36. Dwayne Bowe
37. Reuben Randle
38. Tavon Austin
39. Robert Woods
40. DeAndre Hopkins
41. Golden Tate
42. Steve Smith
43. Brian Hartline
44. Brandin Cooks
45. Doug Baldwin
46. Anquan Boldin
47. Sammy Watkins
48. Marvin Jones
49. Terrance Williams
50. Greg Jennings

JUNE RB FANTASY FOOTBALL RANKINGS

Monday, 16 June, 2014

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1. Jamaal Charles- In Philadelphia, Andy Reid was able to develop the Mr. do it all running backs. That certainly has occurred in Kansas City. Charles was already a top five back before Reid, and now is cemented as the top back heading into 2014.

2. Matt Forte- I have Forte ranked a bit higher than most as he just plays at the steady level. You can count on him to have a balanced game each time he steps out onto the field. Other backs don’t make up their fantasy points if they suffer a lackluster rushing week like Forte does. He consistently gets you a solid amount out of the backfield.

3. Adrian Peterson- Teams truly attacked to shut down a hopeless passing game from the Vikings. Even the unworldly Peterson couldn’t shed the defenders they had in the box. The bright side is the Vikings cut ways with Josh Freeman and have directed Christian Ponder to the bench. The job will be in the hands of Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater. Peterson’s season should be somewhere in between two years ago and this past season, which would please fantasy owners.

4. Le’Veon Bell- I loved the workmanlike demeanor Bell displayed last season. He was a gem for fantasy owners off the waiver wire. Typically backs that catapult from a great waiver wire pickup, tend to skyrocket the next season. Pittsburgh has been one of those teams that’s been supplanted and dormant. If Bell becomes the proper focus, Pittsburgh could contend as the division winner once again.

5. LeSean McCoy- McCoy could truly be ranked higher, but I have him slightly lower because Chip Kelly will utilize the depth of the Eagles more than the Chiefs, Steelers, Vikings, and Bears. There is no question that McCoy has Jamaal Charles type of capability on any given week.

6. Eddie Lacy
7. Gio Bernard
8. Arian Foster
9. Marshawn Lynch
10. Montee Ball
11. DeMarco Murray
12. Reggie Bush
13. Alfred Morris
14. Andre Ellington
15. Doug Martin
16. Zac Stacy
17. Knowshown Moreno
18. Toby Gerhart
19. Ryan Matthews
20. Rashad Jennings
21. CJ Spiller
22. Ben Tate
23. Chris Johnson
24. Bishop Sankey
25. Shane Vereen
26. Ray Rice
27. Joique Bell
28. Trent Richardson
29. Frank Gore
30. Darren Sproles
31. Steven Jackson
32. MJD
33. Fred Jackson
34. Darren McFadden
35. Lamar Miller
36. Pierre Thomas
37. Danny Woodhead
38. Terrance West
39. Chris Ivory
40. Tre Mason
41. Bernard Pierce
42. Stevan Ridley
43. DeAngelo Williams
44. Mark Ingram
45. Donald Brown
46. Ahmad Bradshaw
47. Bobby Rainey
48. Latavius Murray
49. James Starks
50. LeGarratte Blount